UAAP Basketball

Olsen Racela still proud of Tamaraws even as playoff streak ends

Martin Mendoza

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Olsen Racela still proud of Tamaraws even as playoff streak ends

LEADERS. Bryan Sajonia and Patrick Sleat help carry the FEU Tamaraws' campaign in UAAP Season 85.


The FEU Tamaraws – noting that their lineup looks ‘really behind’ other teams – plan to put emphasis on recruitment after missing the UAAP Final Four for the first time in eight seasons

MANILA, Philippines – Despite seeing their league-best eight consecutive UAAP Final Four appearance streak come to an end, FEU Tamaraws head coach Olsen Racela is nonetheless proud of how his wards fared in the Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.

FEU was officially booted out of playoff contention after absorbing a stinging 75-70 loss to the Adamson Soaring Falcons in its penultimate assignment of the elimination round, but still managed to wrap up the season on a high note following a 77-62 rout of the UST Growling Tigers last Saturday.

After starting the season on the wrong foot with a 0-5 slate, the Tamaraws went on a four-game winning streak, before dropping four of their last five games to finish the season with a lowly 5-9 record, thus missing the Final Four bus for the first time since Season 75.

“Of course we feel bad that we did not make the Final Four,” said Racela, who steered the Tamaraws to four straight Final Four appearances since taking on the head coaching job back in 2017.

“We were always there in the end, except for a few games that were really bad.”

“I’m disappointed, but on the other hand, I’m proud with the way they played this season,” added Racela.

In contrast to their buildup heading into Season 85, where they lost two of their key players in RJ Abarrientos and foreign student-athlete Emman Ojuola, the Tamaraws are in a much-better position heading into next season as they are only set to lose forward Ximone Sandagon due to graduation. 

Still, Racela made it clear that he will put emphasis on recruitment in the offseason as FEU tries to beef up its loaded squad that still has the likes of graduating guard LJay Gonzales, Bryan Sajonia, and Xyrus Torres, among others.

“Well if you look at our lineup, we were really behind compared to the other teams, which is why I think we did not make the Final Four this season,” said Racela in a mix of English and Filipino.

“We need to get more talent, recruit some more players. College basketball is all about recruitment. We lost two players from last year, all the other teams improved by adding players.”

“That’s college basketball for you,” he said. –

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